First, Mandy climbed in the Manitou Incline – ~3,000 steps with 2,000 feet of gain in less than a mile. Then, Mandy climbed the Barr Trail route to the top of Pikes Peak – more than 13 miles to a 14,000 foot summit with more than 7,000 feet of gain along the route. And most recently, Mandy jumped out of an airplane – as the first female bi-lateral above the knee amputee EVER to do a static skydive.
All of these feats are impressive, but what makes these feats inspiring is the fact that Mandy has done it all without legs.
After losing her legs from above the knee and down in a 2014 accident, Mandy has continued to push herself beyond what people expected her to do through hard work, dedication, and a bit of grit. Her recent solo static jump from an airplane was an exclamation mark on an already epic year of accomplishments in outdoor recreation. Another first for Mandy and the rest of the world.
You might be wondering what static skydiving is. In short, it involves a “static line” that automatically opens the chute of a jumper as they fall from the plane. While this means there’s no period of free-fall, a jump of this nature is done without an instructor attached to the first-timer, meaning the jumper is responsible for piloting the parachute while in the air and landing without hands-on assistance. It can be pretty dangerous. In fact, Mandy’s friend that made a solo jump on the same day ended up with a broken femur according to a Facebook post.
That’s not where this story ends though.
The veteran skydiver responsible for getting Mandy on the plane in the first place was a man named Tommy Fergerson. Internet famous for a viral video in which he strikes a pick-up truck while skydiving, Tommy lost his arm in 2011 as a result of the collision. This life-changing accident hasn’t slowed Tommy down though, as he’s jumped more than 500 times with just one arm following the incident.
Tommy even extended his passion adventure to a non-profit that helps others called Clasp Life. Clasp Life aims to help relieve the pain and stress resulting from secondary stressors in a moment of tragedy – for instance, raising money for adaptive equipment that can help get an amputee back on the slopes.
Two people that have stared down tragic situations and made the best of it, Mandy and Tommy both continue to inspire people to break past their fears by their feats in outdoor recreation. I don’t know about you, but this writer is excited to witness what comes next.